Friday, July 02, 2010

Wal-Mart Benefits Local Farmers and Suppliers

Wal-Mart often gets criticized for driving small, downtown merchants out of business, who find it hard to compete against the giant retailer's "everyday low prices," although it would be more accurate to blame "greedy consumers" for the fate of the high-priced, downtown merchants.  As I wrote in 2002, "Wal-Mart can't force people to shop at its stores; all it can do is offer a low-priced alternative to the high-priced downtown merchants. "Greedy" consumers do the rest."

Here's a new story from NPR "Wal-Mart Helps Small Farms Supply 'Local' Foods," that explains how "The company wants to revitalize small and midsize farms in the U.S. and has begun a program to increase the amount of local produce sold in Walmart stores. The program also benefits consumers, who have access to fresher food, as well as Wal-Mart itself."

Wal-Mart is now working with about 350 small farmers as part of its Heritage Agriculture program, and this is just one example of how small local businesses can actually benefit from a local Wal-Mart.  Here's another example: "Wal-Mart purchased $269 million in products from 316 suppliers located throughout Idaho in 2009."

11 Comments:

At 7/02/2010 9:54 AM, Blogger C. August said...

It has done the same thing in Honduras of all places, in addition to providing one of the safest food sources in that destitute country.

Wal-Mart in Honduras: A Capitalist Success Story

 
At 7/02/2010 10:22 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Excellent!

Thanks for the link C. August...

 
At 7/02/2010 10:31 AM, Anonymous Chris said...

I also noticed that WalMart sells regionally produced snackfoods. For example, they sell Herr's snackfood products in the PA-NJ-DE-MD (mid-Atlantic) market. I have a relative who works for Herr's and he says that Walmart has been an excellent customer. This is quite contrary to the things I have heard about how Walmart 'squeezes' its suppliers and runs other estabilshments out of business. I for one love WalMart - good stuff at low prices!

 
At 7/02/2010 10:59 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Walmart causes jobs to happen in the St. Louis, Mo area...

The site is called PayScale, a private job search site...

Walmart jobs - St Louis, MO

There are both jobs at various Walmarts in the area and other companies that are Walmart suppliers that need people for their Walmart work...

Maybe the pay isn't great initially but its a job and its a start for folks that have been out of work for awhile...

 
At 7/02/2010 11:07 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

say what you will about walmart, but they are very good at giving customers what they want. you don't get that big by screwing that up.

people want fresh and local food and walmart responds.

contrast this to say, the school lunch program.

i love capitalism.

 
At 7/02/2010 11:20 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Walmart has been very progressive in marketing its stores to the local markets. There are many examples, but perhaps one of the better ones is the Dearborn, Michigan store where a very large Muslim community created marketing challenges to success. This community had a history of shopping at smaller markets that specialized in both importing primarily Lebonese produce and in Halal meats. Walmart was able to revise their model to provide the kind of shopper experience that would help it thrive.

The management team at Walmart is clearly a sharp bunch. It will be interesting to see how these initiatives evolve and what the long term benefits/consequences will be.

 
At 7/02/2010 12:49 PM, Anonymous Hydra said...

Gee, where do I sign up. Something like this could make a real difference to my farm sales.

 
At 7/02/2010 2:36 PM, Anonymous grant said...

Good for W-mark but when are they going to build 100 more stores in China to help balance up trade deficit.They need to drag profits out of there.

 
At 7/03/2010 4:10 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Grant,

Can you explain how the U.S. trade deficit would change if Walmart were to use some of its capital to build stores in China? I'm not sure I understand what you are meaning.

 
At 7/03/2010 5:05 PM, Anonymous grant said...

Jetbeagle 4:10 am
I'm meaning that at the end of the day when all the costs are counted and the profits calculated from W-mart China that these profits can be returned to America [when exchange rate is positive] to help balance the trade deficit more to Americas favor.

 
At 7/04/2010 6:49 AM, Anonymous grant said...

Jet beagle:
Capital could be borrowed in China to build w-mart stores.The costs would be contained there.

 

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